Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sprouted Wheat Berry Bread ---- A New Adventure in Bread Making

A New Adventure in Bread Making

One of my goals for this year has been to get back into  baking fresh, homemade whole wheat bread for my family... but just as I was trying to get myself into gear to do so, I started experiencing health issues like low immunity and gastric distress.  So, I did a bit of research on the web on the topic of Gluten Intolerance; looking at gluten free recipes, and guess what?  Wheat has gluten ~smile~  Well, I knew that, I'd been adding gluten flour to my recipe for years, to enhance it's texture and produce a loaf more like the kind you can purchase at the grocery store.

So, I'm thinking to myself, "I can't eat wheat on a gluten free diet" and then I came across articles about soaking grains, soaking flour, and sprouting grains, to break down the phytic acid that is contained in grains and legumes.

I doubt that I have a severe case of gluten intolerance, but I do want to try and do everything I can to alleviate the digestive issues I've been dealing with; and with the added nutrition that soaked or sprouted wheat berries have, I'm hoping to increase my bodies ability to have a stronger immune system.

So, after reading quite a few articles on the web that deal with the topic of allergies to wheat, and how it affects people in many different ways, I began to understand how this may be one of the reasons why so many people develop allergies to wheat in the form it is usually found in our modern day diet.  

For the most part, the flour we purchase in our local grocery store is  old, dead, flour; with not much nutritional content to speak of, because all of the germ, bran and wonderful oil has been stripped from the grain during the process of grinding the berries into flour.  

Whole grain flour loses it's nutrients within days of being ground.  And most Americans eat white flour products to boot!  There are two ways to avoid losing the nutrients and enzymes wheat has to offer.  Grind your own wheat berries into flour, and then soak that flour for 8-12 hours in an acidic medium, like organic apple cider vinegar.  Or, soak wheat berries and then put them through a meat grinder and use the mash to make bread.

Wheat (and many other grains and legumes) contain phytic acid, which is an "anti nutrient" that inhibits the grain or legume from releasing it's nutrients and enzymes.  But soaking your whole grain flour or whole grains (or legumes) does away with phytic acid, allowing the nutrients and enzymes to flow into the food.

  • The most intriguing fact I found while researching this topic was this:  There are increased amounts of many vitamins, minerals and beneficial enzymes in soaked grains!  And sprouted grains have even more nutritional content.

  • So, where to start?  Well, I decided to just jump right in ---  full steam ahead!  

    I got a bag of frozen hard red wheat berries out of the freezer last night, I forgot to weigh it, but I bet there are at least 5#'s of wheat berries there to work with.  

    So, last night, (Saturday) I put the wheat berries in a big pot and filled the pot with water, leaving enough room in  the pot for the berries to soak up water.

    Sunday Afternoon:  I rinsed the wheat berries in stages, and divided them into three extra large Pyrex (yellow) bowls; and set those on my stove and covered them with a flour sack towel.  (To let them "do their thing" ~smile~)

    I plan on using some for sprouting; some for blending in the blender and making a few loaves of "flour-less" bread; and some for experimenting with other recipes. 

    Sunday Evening: I will rinse and drain the berries, and from what I've read, I may start to see white roots that are beginning to emerge.  Then I will place the berries back into their bowls, and let them continue to sit at room temperature for another 8 to 12 hours.
    Monday Morning:  I will rinse and drain the berries one more time.
    Monday Afternoon: The berries are ready when their roots are about 1/4 inch long;  or the size of the wheat berry itself. Rinse and drain the berries one more time. The sprouts are ready to use right away. You can store them for a day or two by patting them dry and storing covered in the refrigerator.
    So, now I'm off to find a recipe or two or three to work with, I will post them as soon as I can!  Happy May 1st everyone!

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    A Simple, Honest, Lucrative Work at Home Idea! Varolo

    I am a stay at home wife, and I have been blessed to have a wonderful husband
    that preferred for me to be a full time homemaker instead of a career woman
    with a job outside of our home. 

    But in today's economy, who couldn't use a few extra dollars every month? 
    (I personally know of no one who is in that category!) 

    So, my family did some research into ways to use our computer to make extra income,
    and we think we've come across a very lucrative and easy to implement,
    on-line business that is so simple, and so easy to fit into our schedule each day,
    that we can't believe more people don't know about this! 

    Imagine, logging into your PC each day, and spending just a few minutes
    watching a few short commercials.
    (And you can tailor the ads you watch to fit your personal tastes!)

    After watching each short ad, just click a button to give your input on the commercial ----

    It is that simple! 

    There is no cost to join or belong, ever! 
    You don't have to give out your personal information like most
    "work at home" jobs on-line, and one more bonus, this company has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau!

    (The only reason they have an A- versus an A+ is because they are a
    new company with just 7 months under their belt; and they have
    just one week to go until their official launch date. 
    They have great customer service, and are prompt to reply to your questions!) 

    You can do a web search and try to find something negative about this company,
    you won't be able to find anything!
    (Unlike many other on-line job offers you will find on-line, that just waste your time!)

    This company, Varolo, has huge potential!

    If this sounds like something you would like to consider doing----
    Please go to this link and follow the 7 easy steps!

    You will become a member of my Varolo Village,
    and on your way to building your own Varolo Village!
    I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    The "Zig-zag" Diet Plan

    This isn't a new diet "per say" but it is new to me.  It goes by other names as well -----  

    I first heard about it being referred to as  the "Calorie Shifting" diet plan.  Then I found it referred to as the "Calorie Cycling" diet plan... but I prefer the last reference I found it labeled under:  "The Zig-Zag Diet".  This diet plan interests me for many reasons:

    1.  It recommends you eat many small meals a day, which is becoming a very popular and scientifically supported and productive dieting tip.

    2.  It gives you "cheat days" where you can indulge, within reason, so you don't feel deprived.

    3.  It is balanced, no food is banned, but common sense is stressed, so you can eat the foods you want, you just need to factor them in at the right time, and on the right days.

    Here are the basics:

    The 1-2-3 rule, when following the diet plan:

    In each of your meals, approximately 1 part of the calories should come from fats, 2 parts from protein and 3 parts from carbohydrates. 

    This is a guideline, not a hard-and-fast law. Just keep your fat intake down to a low level but do not eliminate fat completely, as some fat is essential for maintaining good health, but make wise choices like olive oil; sesame oil; or coconut oil.

    Consume enough protein and carbohydrates in comparison to your energy output.  Carbs are your body's preferred energy fuel source.  Remember that protein and carbohydrates both have 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram.  Choose smart carbs like whole grains and try to limit your white flour/white sugar intake. 

    Next, you will  need to discover how many calories you will need to consume each day, times that number by 7 (your weekly caloric intake number) and chart out your eating plan.
    Here is a link to a BMI calculator, that will help you determine how many calories you need to consume each day:  Calorie Calculator

    On a busy day, I could eat 1900 calories to maintain the weight I'm at now.  On a relaxed day, I should only eat around 1750 calories, to maintain the weight I'm at now.  But, I want to lose weight (a lot of weight!)  And since 1 pound of body fat is equal to approximately 500 calories, I will need to shave 2000 calories out of my weekly menu to lose 2 lbs. of weight each week.  

    So, by "shifting" or "cycling" my calories in a "Zig-zag" pattern, my body is not able to predict how many calories I'm going to be eating on any given day or week, thus, the theory is, it won't go into starvation mode, nor will it become stalled out on a plateau of normalcy.  

    A Zig-zag week for me might look something like this:

    I calculated how many calories I can eat a day to be 1850 calories; times that by 7 =  13,000

    So my week might look like this:

    Monday:  1750
    Tuesday:  2000
    Wednesday: 1750
    Thursday:  1750
    Friday:  1800

    Which leaves me with 3800 calories to split; and because it's a weekend, I can choose to go a bit heavy on Saturday, if I have a date night planned with my husband.  Or, if I have a pot-luck after church on Sunday scheduled on my calendar, I would probably choose to use my heavy calorie day there instead.

    So, you can be flexible, and here is what my weekend might look like:

    Saturday:  1800
    Sunday:  2150

    The key is to keep your metabolism "guessing" and don't let it get complacent in it's expectations of how many calories you will be eating on any given day --- switch it up!

    Don't allow your weeks to remain the same either, little switches is all it takes!

    Zig and then zag!

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Tis the Season --- hoe, hoe, hoe. . . For Pondering Gardening!

    I am just itching for spring, and as I sit here in my cozy home, with snow and ice falling outside my window today, I figured it's time to start gathering seed catalogs and ordering my garden seeds for 2011.  We plant only Heirloom / Open Pollinated vegetable seeds, so we can save seeds (and thereby save money on seeds in the future, plus share them with family and friends!).

    Here is a list of some catalogs that offer Heirloom seeds:
    Annie's Heirloom Seeds
    Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
    Seed Savers
    Abundant Life Seeds
    Victory Seeds

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    A new loom, "looming" in my future....

    My husband is building me a sock loom, and I'm very excited to get a chance to try it out!  We have to make a trip into town to look for "cotter pins" (they are the little pegs or pins that the yarn is wound around in order for the actual knitting to take place) and it will be done!  I'll post some pictures when I get it up and running! I'm hoping I might actually be able to learn to knit socks with this method!  Worse case scenario is I'll have a closet full of leg warmers and hats!  Stay tuned!